Feature Article, Stock Cars — April 5, 2015 at 4:47 am

Jason Kooy (Issue 108)

by

IT-108 Jason Kooy (late model)

By Steve Heeb

Jason Kooy started racing at 16, racking up experience in the Thunder cars, extreme contact figure 8, open wheeled modified, and buses since then.

“All sorts of crazy stuff,” laughs the driver out of Monroe, Wash.. “I’ve just been into racing. My brother was racing so it’s kind of a family thing.”

The Kooy family could be counted on to be at all the big events at Evergreen Speedway so it was just natural that Jason would end up on the track side of the fence when the time came.

Jason got his chance to race in the Thunders and stuck with the division for 8-10 seasons before moving into the xtreme contact figure 8, and open wheeled modified.

“I also raced on and off in the buses,” Jason says. “I was just having a lot of fun.”

Like so many drivers, Jason had steer his racing to the garage for a while to tend to family responsibilities as he and wife Rhonda raised sons Cole and Cody.

“Now the kids are racing so it’s a whole family thing again,” he smiles. “With even the grandparents.”

Jason continued to help Zaretzke, and asked the veteran to keep a look out for a car that Jason could race.  Just in time for the 2013 Summer Show down, Zaretzke found a car.

“I was helping John Zaretzke and he helped me get my first Late Model Car”, Jason recalls. “I bought it and he raced it.”

Jason made his return to Evergreen’s 5/8-mile with a Port City chassis and crate motor.

“People were surprised I could control the car,” he says of the Late Model race car. “I was more used to junk cars, but it’s easier in a car that’s actually set up.”

Jason continued to turn laps during the 2013 campaign.

“I ran part of the season and got the NASCAR Rookie of the Year for Washington,” Jason says of the title that earned him a trip to North Carolina for the NASCAR banquet.

A year later, Jason is fine-tuning his racing.

“My endurance has improved,” he notes. “The Late Models races are longer and the car is hotter. I also have a spotter, where the other cars I would just drive.”

Brother-in-law Robby Johnson joins John Zaretzke and Geoff Fillmore in Jason’s pit on race days, along with some help from the younger family members.

“Even at 7, Cody knows his wrenches and really helps out,” Jason says.

Jason also credits sponsorship help from Machias Materials, Gerhardt Trucking, Kooy’s Truck Parts, JJ Kooy Truckin, Four Seasons Roofing, The Shine Shop, and Joe’s Racing Products.

“And of course Tracy DeYoung,” Jason says. “He was at our house at 5:30 in the morning putting stickers on the car before the 2014 Showdown.”

Having come a long way from the Thunders, Jason wrapped up the 2014 campaign fourth in the Super Late Models and is eager to return to Evergreen Speedway in 2015.

He hopes others also will be inspired by the likes of Zaretzke and Northwest veteran Kasey Kahne and join the racing family as well.

“Just do it,” he says. “I would never have done it if John hadn’t told me to come back out to the track. It’s been a lot of fun.”

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